Irish drama The Banshees Of Inisherin walked home empty-handed on Sunday after being nominated for nine Academy Awards at the Oscars show. But the film shouldn’t be too sad since it’s received the biggest prize of all: a Pac-Man-like video game adaptation as a free game in your web browser. “It was an interesting challenge,” says Cogs & Marvel’s creative director, Jon Hozier-Byrne. “How can you tell a complex story in the simplest narrative form?” The answer is Banshees: The Game, a short, hilarious, 8-bit game that you can play right here.
Banshees: The Game distils the film’s plot. You play as a pixelated version of Brendan Gleeson’s character with a singular motive: get to the pub and grab a couple of pints. Annoyingly, Colin Farrell and his beautiful eyebrows are on a mission to repair your friendship, so you’ll need to avoid him, grab five fingers, and sneak to the pub on a Pac-Man grid. As you progress, other characters from the film join Farrell and take on the role of Pac-Man’s ghosts. Alas, you can’t eat the ghost stand-ins here, sadly, however much you want to.
There’s a plucky retro soundtrack, which is always a treat, and Inisherin’s comedy isn’t lost in translation. Every time Farrell - or anyone - catches you, Gleeson’s distorted voice yells, “I don’t like you no more!” Transition screens also treat you to plot synopses such as: “The local gobshite is coming to talk your ears off!” I’ll be spending the rest of today trying to beat the game and see its last few jokes.
I can hear you guys wondering already, why aren’t there more video game homages to Oscar-nominated films? Turns out, 2023’s Oscars actually have plenty. Best Picture winner Everything Everywhere All At Once has inspired a rock-sim that’s appropriately named Be A Rock, coming to Steam at the end of March. Top Gun Maverick already has a crossover with Microsoft Flight Sim, while Ubisoft are adapting James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster into Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora. And anyone who’s also watched Tar - the cerebral rumination of orchestra-based power dynamics featuring Cate Blanchett - will know that Monster Hunter is the perfect tie-in. I won't say why, though. You'll have to watch the film.